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News 2013

  • REF submissions received
  • Date:  10 December 2013
  • The four UK higher education funding bodies have welcomed the receipt of universities' submissions to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). All 155 institutions that intend to participate in the REF successfully made their submissions by the deadline on 29 November 2013.
  • Institutions have submitted the research of 52,077 staff for assessment in the REF. This compares to 52,401 staff submitted to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
  • The REF expert panels will now begin to assess submissions and the outcomes will be published in December 2014.
  • Graeme Rosenberg, the REF manager, said: "I am delighted that this major milestone in the exercise has been reached and would like to thank institutions for their preparations. I look forward to working closely with the panels as they carry out the assessment fairly, robustly and transparently."
  • Notes
  • 1. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) that was last conducted in 2008.
  • 2. The figures quoted above relate to Category A full-time equivalent (FTE) staff. Category A staff are academic staff employed by a UK HE institution on the REF census date (31 October 2013) and selected by the HE institution for submission.
  • 3. The four UK HE funding bodies intend to use the REF outcomes to inform the selective allocation of their research funding to HE institutions, with effect from 2015-16.
  • 4. For further information about the REF see
  • UK Research Partnership Investment Fund 2015-16
  • Date:  09 December 2013
  • The UK higher education funding bodies have launched a further round of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF).
  • UKRPIF provides funding for capital investment in major new research facilities in universities which have a significant track record of research excellence. A further £100 million is available through the new round of the scheme. The minimum award from the fund will be £10 million per project and the maximum £35 million. As in previous rounds, there is a requirement for substantial co-funding from private sources. Full information is available on the HEFCE website.
  • The deadline for submission of expressions of interest is noon on Friday, 24 January 2014.
  • Universities and colleges have fee plans approved for 2014/15
  • Date:  13 July 2013
  • 11 universities and colleges have had their fee plans approved by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and can charge their chosen fee levels for undergraduate courses from the 2014/15 academic year.

    Dr David Blaney, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said: “Our process for determining whether universities and colleges can continue to charge higher in the 2014/15 academic year is as robust as in previous years, and includes making sure that institutions set themselves challenging targets.

    “Around a third of the new income from higher fees is put towards widening access and promoting higher education, much of which will benefit students directly though bursaries. Universities and colleges must continue to ensure that higher education remains both an attractive and accessible option for students from Wales and the rest of the UK, and beyond.”

    All 11 institutions – 8 universities and three further education colleges – plan to charge students on full-time undergraduate and PGCE courses between £4,000 and £9,000 a year.

    The fees levels for 2014/15 start at £4,235 for some foundation degree and HND courses, and range from £5,850 to £9,000 for full-time undergraduate degree courses, and PGCE courses, with the average fee level at around £8,400.

    All institutions were required to involve their student unions in finalising their plan.

    Copies of fee plans and details of the fees levels and ranges can be obtained from the institutions themselves. They will be linked from HEFCW’s website / about higher education in Wales / studying in higher education / full-time undergraduate fees from 2012 as they become available on institutions’ websites.

    Coleg Sir Gâr did not submit a fee plan for 2014/15, given its proposed merger into University of Wales Trinity Saint David Group.

    Students ordinarily resident in Wales (and EU students in Wales) will receive from the Welsh Government a non-repayable fee grant for the cost of their fee above around £3,600 (exact amount for 2014/15 to be confirmed), no matter where in the UK they study.

  • QAA Board Appointment
  • Date:  02 May 2013
  • Closing date:  30 May 2013
  • We are currently seeking to appoint a non-executive director to the Board of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). The QAA is an independent body funded by subscriptions from universities and colleges and through contracts with the higher education funding bodies. The term of the appointment is for four years, it is unremunerated but expenses may be claimed.
  • More
  • HEFCW re-appointments
  • Date:  25 April 2013
  • David Mason and Bethan Guilfoyle have been re-appointed as members of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales for a second three-year term from 1 April 2013.
  • Education and Skills Minister Leighton Andrews said: "Both David and Bethan have brought to HEFCW their substantial experience and knowledge of the sector, particularly around widening access, during a challenging time for the Council. Across the UK, higher education is undergoing rapid change. I greatly value the support of the Funding Council and its members as we drive forward our ambitions for higher education in Wales."
  • Appointment to the Board of Jisc
  • Date:  16 April 2013
  • Closing date:  10 May 2013
  • The UK funders of Jisc are seeking to appoint a member of the Board of the newly created Jisc (formerly known as the Joint Information Systems Committee, JISC). Jisc is a charity and a company limited by guarantee, owned by higher education and further education sector representative bodies. This is a fixed term, unremunerated appointment, but expenses may be claimed.
  • More
  • Vacancy on HEFCW’s Research, Innovation and Engagement Committee
  • Date:  09 April 2013
  • We are currently inviting applications from members of academic staff with significant research engagement to fill a vacancy on our Research, Innovation and Engagement Committee.
  • The Committee’s principal role is to advise HEFCW’s Council on strategies for research, innovation and engagement, and to act as a source of, and sounding board for, new ideas and approaches. It meets three or four, times a year in Cardiff.
  • We would welcome applications from members of academic staff who have a strong track record of research achievement and are currently actively engaged in research, and who have an interest in related higher education policy. The Committee’s membership already includes a Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) and so the present appointment is likely to be at a more operational level.
  • The appointments will be made on merit and expertise, having regard to the spread of institutional representation on the committee, and taking account of the needs for diversity of membership. The position is unpaid and fixed term (up to three years).
  • Further information about the Research Innovation and Engagement Committee is available at
  • If you require any further information, please contact Linda Tiller or Tove Oliver, Joint Committee Secretaries ( 029 2068 2228; 029 2068 2264).
  • To apply for this position on the Research, Innovation and Engagement Committee please complete the attached form and provide a copy of your CV. Completed applications should be emailed to by Friday, 26 April 2013.
  • Application form
  • Future Directions for part-time higher education in Wales: 26 April 2013
  • Date:  15 March 2013
  • Part-time study is a vital part of the Welsh higher education landscape. The Open University in Wales, NUS Wales, and the Higher Education Academy are running a one day event to examine where the sector is now, and where it needs to change going forward. The keynote speakers are; Martin Bean, Vice Chancellor of the Open University and Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills, Welsh Government. For further information or to register your interest in this event, please email or Tweet to @OUCymru by 1 April 2013.
  • REF Survey of Submission Intentions
  • Date:  15 January 2013
  • The Research Excellence Framework (REF) Team has announced the outcomes of the REF survey of submission intentions. Higher education institutions (HEIs) plan to submit the work of a slightly increased number of their staff for assessment in the Research Excellence Framework in 2014 compared to the previous RAE exercise in 2008. Figures collected by the HE funding bodies show that UK HEIs plan to submit the research of 54,269 academic staff employed by them for assessment in the REF, compared to 52,401 in 2008- an increase of 3.6%. The figures were collected through a survey of submission intentions undertaken by the REF team to inform their planning for the assessment phase of the exercise to be conducted during 2014. They represent the current best estimates by individual HEIs; the actual number of staff submitted will not be known until full submissions are received at the end of November 2013.
  • The figures show a modest degree of variance between the main discipline groups. An increase of 10% is anticipated in science and engineering disciplines, with a smaller increase in social sciences and level or slightly reduced numbers in the arts, humanities and healthcare subjects.
  • The survey has also provided an insight into the range of impacts arising from research conducted within HE that will be submitted as part of the assessment process. The survey indicates a rich diversity of impacts, including in the areas of health, industry, technology, policy, professional practice, culture and public understanding.
  • Speaking on behalf of all the funding bodies, Alan Langlands said: “This survey was undertaken as a planning exercise and figures are not definitive. They do however indicate clearly that HE institutions continue to attach importance to identifying all of the excellent research undertaken by their staff, and to having its excellence validated through robust expert review. The survey has shown that the HE sector is continuing to maintain a high volume of excellent research activity, and is working hard to ensure that this leads on to positive real world outcomes which can play an important role in supporting national economic recovery and growth.”
  • Note: the figures for research active “category A” staff (academic staff employed by a UK HEI on the census date for the exercise and selected for submission) are as follows:
  • Sumitted in RAE 2008Planned for REF 2014Change
    All staff52,40154,269+1,868 (+3.6%)
    Main panel A (healthcare and life sciences)14,08613,805-281 (-2.0%)
    Main panel B (science and engineering)12,23413,532+1,298 (+10.6%)
    Main panel C (social sciences)14,83415,694+860 (+5.8%)
    Main panel D (arts and humanities)11,24711,239-8 (-0.1%)
  • Further information about the REF can be found at
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